6:30pm PT by Kate Stanhope
'Empire's' Taraji P. Henson Reveals Why She Hid Her Phone on Emmy Nominations Day (Video)
Thursday started out just like another day for Emmy nominee Taraji P. Henson.
"I was in my closet, rushing so that I wouldn’t be late for work as usual," the Empire star told THR Thursday, "and then my phone started going nuts."
Going into the Emmy nominations, most experts were predicting Henson would get a nod for her scene-stealing turn as Cookie on the breakout hit. But eventually, the hype became too much to handle.
"It was weird because the first wave of texts was, 'You know you're going to get this nomination,' " said Henson. "I was like, 'Psht, I don’t see want to see that. It hasn’t happened yet,' so I kind of hid my phone."
However, a call from her longtime manager got her attention. "I've been with him for my entire career so I knew he was calling with good news. He knows not to call me with bad news," the actress said with a laugh.
An African American has never won lead actress in a drama, which means either Henson or Viola Davis, who is nominated for How to Get Away With Murder, have the potential to make history come Sept. 20. Henson is no stranger to the awards race after earning an Oscar nomination in 2009. She said she was trying not to focus on the awards race too much.
"I never really got into acting for awards because it's weird when you try to compare art," said Henson. "I just have to stay focused."
However, she said she was "grateful" and "honored" to receive the nomination. Said Henson, "I know that this is something that a lot of actors can't say."
Empire, which earned a total of three nominations, returns for season two on Wednesday, Sept. 23 at 9 p.m. on Fox.